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Future Fit Traning

Military vs Personal Trainer Skills Comparison

At first glance, you might think that military life and life as a personal trainer (PT) don’t have that much in common. How can life on base be anything like life in a gym, right!?

It turns out that life in the military might have prepared you to be a highly skilled personal trainer without you even realising it.

Here are 5 skills you already have that will give you a head-start in the fitness industry:

Early Riser

All those years getting up bright and early have perfectly prepared you for life as a PT. That’s because for most PTs 6 am until 9 am is one of the busiest times of the day.

Here is an example of what your day could look like:

Time Activity
4:15am Get up
4:30am Cycle to work
4:45am Open the gym and set up for the day ahead
5:30am First PT client/Class
8:00am Finish morning PT/class session
8:30am Admin, Reports, Operational Shift
1:00pm Leave the gym and go home
4:00pm Back to the gym for Personal Training/classes
10:00pm Bed

However, it is definitely worth noting that the day to day of a personal trainer will depend on:

  • Being employed or self-employed
  • The number and type of clients you work with
  • Your skillset and services
  • Experience

Clients who work typical 9 am to 5 pm jobs love to get in for a quick session before work, so if you’re there to provide it, you’re onto a winner.

Organised and Disciplined

Organisation and discipline are hammered home throughout your military career through live-fire training, fitness training, fieldcraft training and teamwork tasks. When you take that level of organisation and discipline over to life as a personal trainer, you’ll absolutely smash it.

  • You’ll keep your client diary organised
  • You’ll update programmes on time
  • You’ll remember to send your clients reminders about their food and nutrition

And all those things earn you glowing client reviews, long-lasting clients and an increased number of referrals.

What’s more, since you already know how to organise and discipline yourself, you’ll be able to take some of those lessons and help your clients to do the same in their lives.



Life in the military isn’t easy.

You’re held to a high standard and you’re expected to put in the work.

You can get deployed anywhere around the world for months at a time. There are huge highs, camaraderie and a tight-knit unit, but you can also have hours of ‘busy work,’ endless tasks and long hours.

The good news is, that your ability to work hard and get the job done is a huge factor in becoming a successful personal trainer.

  • There will be times when you don’t want to train another client.
  • There will be times when you don’t want to walk around the gym floor and chat with members.
  • There will be times that you have to work earlier or stay later than you wanted.

But if you’re already used to putting in the hard work then you’ll be able to deal with it.


Sense of Humour

Let’s be honest, you’d never survive in the military without a sense of humour.

When you spend a huge amount of time with the same few people you become like a family – and that means jokes, banter and winding each other up.

If you’re going to be working full time as a PT, you’ll need that sense of humour.

The hours are not consistent and you’ll meet some interesting personalities along the way, regardless of being a self-employed PT or gym based.

A sense of humour makes the job so much more enjoyable; chatting with and motivating your clients more easily and you’ll also keep yourself in a better mood and raise everyone’s spirits.


Personal Responsibility

In the services, you learn fast that you either succeed or fail as a team.

It means taking personal responsibility for solutions (even if you didn’t cause the problem).

As a personal trainer, that approach is an absolute game-changer, it leads to self-reflection where you review your approach and improve your service to make you well respected and in demand.

Personal responsibility also creeps into your working environment, for example, if you’re employed by a gym and it’s messy you tidy it, if a member is struggling, you help them. Ultimately, through personal responsibility, you’ll have happier clients and generate more clients.


In our experience…

The combination of these 6 skills gives military leaver’s a huge head start when it comes to working successfully as a personal trainer. If you can get up early, work hard, bring a sense of humour, stay organised, be hands-on and take personal responsibility for your coaching business, you’ll be so much more likely to succeed.

Interested in learning more about the courses we can provide to Ex-Military personnel through ELCAS?

Read through our ELCAS courses page and speak to our careers advisors!